PS3 Previews: Driver: San Francisco Preview

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Driver: San Francisco Preview

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Scheduled release date:

August 30, 2011

Publisher:

Ubisoft

Developer:

Ubisoft Reflections

Number Of Players:

1-8

Genre:

Driving

Release Date:

August 30, 2011

The original Driver debuted to widespread critical acclaim back in 1999 on the PlayStation. A bright future seemed inevitable. But the sequel released a year later and critics weren’t so enthusiastic, and the series sort of downshifted to mediocrity. There were multiple installments on numerous platforms, ranging from the GameBoy Advance to the Xbox, but none reclaimed the glory of the first title. So maybe we should consider Ubisoft’s Driver: San Francisco as a reboot, with a completely overhauled style and a ton of up-close-and-personal action. The demo is now on the PlayStation Network, and I took a look last night.

The demo lets you sample three modes, where you can sample a standard race through crowded city streets, a hectic escape from pursuing cops, and a mode that introduces you to the “shift” dynamic. The latter is like a super power that lets you jump from driver to driver; you basically inhabit the body of someone else behind the wheel. You can quick jump with the R1 button – useful for races – or press X to enable the manual selection, where you target the vehicle you wish to drive. It’s an interesting mechanic and one that could be excellent, provided it isn’t overused. I did find the quick shift a little confusing and disconcerting, though. It can be difficult to understand exactly what’s happening if you get “shift”-happy.

As for the rest, I think things are looking up. While the style is obviously very arcade-like (you’ll plow through pedestrian-filled sidewalks on a frequent basis), the physics definitely feel more realistic. The vehicles have plenty of weight and although some may feel sluggish or loose, that’s the nod to authenticity, I believe. The hand brake works extremely well and although too many vehicles feel the same, there’s definitely a semblance of realism in the control. The standard third-person view sits a little closer than I would like but you do have choices. I’m on the fence about the mini-map, which you can enlarge by pressing the triangle button.

It’s also plain that the storyline will indeed take center-stage during the campaign. We catch glimpses of it during this demo, and I’ll be interested to see how things play out. The graphics and sound are competent; there are some great special effects, character detail isn’t bad at all, and the city is nicely designed if not overly detailed. I’ll have to play more to pass judgment on the control and general gameplay, and I’m a little worried that the “shift” function will be overused, but we’ll see. Driver: San Francisco is slated to hit store shelves on August 30. Cross your fingers for a worthwhile action/racing quest.

8/10/2011 Ben Dutka

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More Previews Of This Game
Date
Game
Reviewer
04/28/11 Driver: San Francisco Ben Dutka

Comments (35 posts)

BikerSaint
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 @ 9:51:22 PM
Reply

I can't wait to try out the demo.

But at a little over 1300MB, my damned slow 756 DLS will take at least an hour or more just to DL it, & who knows how much longer I've got to wait for it to install too.

I wish I had that virtue of patience, but I want everything yesterday, dammit!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 @ 10:43:25 PM

Why not just download it while u play a game?

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BikerSaint
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 12:44:56 PM

World, I do.

Maybe it's just my own anticipation working against me, but every time I'm doing a DL while playing, it feels like the DL's manage to drag even slower for some reason.

And after all that whining, I still haven't gotten the chance to try it out yet, LOL

Last edited by BikerSaint on 8/11/2011 12:46:25 PM

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Chelsea United
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 11:23:23 PM

HOW DO YOU DO THIS????? My download always pauses when I start up a game...

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daus26
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 11:42:03 PM

To download a game while playing, the game has to be HDD-based, meaning it has to be a game that's downloaded to your hard-drive (e.g demos). I don't think you can download a game while playing a game that's Blu-ray-based. This is just from my experience and I don't know if there are exceptions.

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PAKINIPS
Friday, August 12, 2011 @ 4:36:24 AM

Be thankful it only takes an hour.

Burnout paradise took 3 days to download

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 @ 10:45:47 PM
Reply

How's the screen tearing?

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 12:45:42 AM

I didn't notice much.

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Excelsior1
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 4:39:35 AM

ubisoft. masters of the srcreen tear on the ps3. check out ac series for examples.

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FM23
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 1:41:59 PM

Never experienced screen tearing and if I did, never noticed it.

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Karosso
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 @ 10:50:01 PM
Reply

I must say, I was excited about the game but, after seeing the switcheroo function I just lost interest. Can't believe they did that, what a stupid function to include on a driving game :(

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dillonthebunny
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 12:24:18 AM

you should try it before saying that. I agree that on the face of it, its crazy, and im disappointed its not a straight up Driver 1 copy in todays Gen..

but what it is.. is its fun, looks good and imo play well. the transition from FPS to TPS in a game like Red Faction was Stupid, and remains so, the jumping in to other drivers bodies sounds ridiculous but is actually very amusing..

I hope they tweak the car control tho

you should try it.

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Excelsior1
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 8:35:58 AM

agreed on the switch function. i will give the game engine some credit...it can handle smoke effects around the car without the nasty lego effects we saw in gt5. no 8 bit shadows either.

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Karosso
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 9:15:19 AM

Oh don't get me wrong, I will try it for sure but, this is one more step taken to appeal to the twitch fest mania. So now you can't even have the patience to try and catch up to the car ahead of you? You need to be able to jump to another car because you suck and can't catchup? If I can play the whole game without using that function I might try, if not, I will have to pass...

"Winter is Coming"

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Dancemachine55
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 @ 11:19:59 PM
Reply

Definitely interested in this game. I've got a friend's birthday coming up and he's a big Driver fan. He didn't like the on-foot parts of the last 2 PS2 Driver games though, but he loves driving round and smashing into things.

Does anyone know if the video editor will be making a return in this one? That was the best feature of Driver on PS1!!

Imagine, using camera and editing techniques to put together your own professional Driver San Fran video and then uploading straight to Youtube!! Being able to record any funny glitches you come across, or epic jumps you find, with slow mo activated and classical music playing as the car soars over the camera!!

Screw Dynamic Shift!! Give us the old video editor back!!

Nice to know the on-foot missions in GTA style are gone. :)

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La_Bete12
Wednesday, August 10, 2011 @ 11:32:10 PM
Reply

Isn't the release date September 6th?

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 12:06:54 AM
Reply

Best racing game IMO was San Francisco Rush for N64. I DL the demo for this but haven't tried it yet.

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dillonthebunny
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 12:25:49 AM

erm, you have played other racing games since then yeh? lol

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 12:28:42 AM

LOL, ya but not too many. I just have fond memories of playing it during Christmas 1997 with my family and the ability to explore and pull off stunts was sooooo fun back then.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 2:47:52 AM

Nah nah, Hard Drivin was the best racer of all time.

If anybody wasn't around in 1988 check THIS out!

http://www.youtube.com/watchv=r3tmdnVPCes&feature=related

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 8/11/2011 2:52:10 AM

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frylock25
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 5:36:26 AM

did anyone ever play the game carmagedon? i had a demo or something for my pc when i was like 12 or something. i dont remember much but i hear there is a new one comin out.

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Excelsior1
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 4:43:45 AM
Reply

was the racer that had a loop in it? i remember playing it on the midway classics disc. what was so great about it? keep in mind i'm 26. i don't have many gaming memories of 1988.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 3:31:15 PM

I was just jokin around, but it was amazing at the time for using actual polygons. You actually turned a key to start it!

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___________
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 4:56:38 AM
Reply

this is exactly what i cant understand.
the series that actually did really well and stood up to what was at the time the industries biggest series, GTA, the getaway, true crime, the XII series, are all gone.
the series which were always pretty crap, IE driver are still going.
what the?
fantastic series get binned, and crap series get sequels till the cows come home!
just downloaded the demo, hopefully its half decent.
but it aint the getaway 3, thats for sure!
no, i will never forgive $ony for cancelling it!

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dkmrules
Friday, August 12, 2011 @ 5:56:57 PM

Are you autistic or something? All of those "amazing games" you referred to got canned because they were average at best, and tio clarify GTA has not been canceled, Rockstar is simply taking their time with it.

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duomaxwell007
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 9:34:18 AM
Reply

might wanna fix the release date.. its actually been pushed back a week to Sept 6th

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maxpontiac
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 10:33:28 AM
Reply

I had high hopes for this game, but the "Shift" mechanic is a big turn off for me.

I will not be buying this title.

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Karosso
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 10:53:06 AM

My feelings exactly!
Why Oh Why? Really, it just makes it less challenging. Great for the causal crowd and the "Fast and twitched" but, a complete turnoff for any serious gamer or fan of the series :(

"Winter is Coming"

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Excelsior1
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 11:46:11 AM

absolutely agree with uou guys. i wouild rate the demo as good if were not for the switch gimmick. completely turned me off. that idea should have been rejected, buried in a pitt with guards placed around it.

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duomaxwell007
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 12:14:20 PM

well the shift idea does make sense since the character is in a coma and everything that happening is going on in his head and thus none of it is real.. so in THAT case I can see Shift working... now if when the character wakes from his coma (which Im sure he will eventually) and is now in the "real" world and THEN if he can still Shift THEN ill have a problem with it.. unless of course they have one helluva good explanation.

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FM23
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 1:43:08 PM

Oh God yes, that shift mechanic is horrible.

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Amnesiac
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 8:25:16 PM
Reply

The demo reminds me enough of the first Driver that I could have fun with it, but yeah the shift thing is really nonsensical its hard to take the game seriously.

Last edited by Amnesiac on 8/11/2011 8:26:23 PM

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daus26
Thursday, August 11, 2011 @ 11:45:27 PM
Reply

Ben, I love racers Arcade or Sim, so I must ask how the handling is compared to Midnight Club? That's the game that mostly resembles it at the moment looking at the free-roam, real-life cars, in this game.

I've been wanting a Midnight Club sequel, and with how busy R* is and whatever problem they have with the MC team, I don't think another is coming anytime soon. I'm hoping this game can fill that gap.

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Spanky
Friday, August 12, 2011 @ 1:43:27 PM
Reply

The original Driver was definitely a breakthrough. I remember just cruising the map for hours on hot summer days.

The Presidential run was THE most ridiculous single mission I've ever attempted since ET the game on Atari! I EVENTUALLY made it sliding upside and sideways across the finish...I vowed to never try it again, and I haven't! :)

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hadouken
Friday, August 12, 2011 @ 3:50:31 PM
Reply

Got driver 1 back when I was in middle school. Good times and I'm looking forward to Driver SF.

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